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Connecticut city testing drone that detects fevers, coughs

Connecticut city testing drone that detects fevers, coughs
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Police in Westport, Conn., will test a “pandemic drone” they say is capable of monitoring residents’ temperatures from nearly 200 feet as well as detecting coughing and sneezing.

The police department said they are testing the technology in cooperation with drone manufacturer Draganfly.

The company said the drone will feature sensors that can detect fever temperatures and heart rates as well as sneezing and coughing in crowds, according to a local NBC affiliate.

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“One of the major problems for cities and towns like Westport in managing and responding to a pandemic like the COVID-19 virus, is finding out who could be infected and how widespread the disease has spread,” Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe said in a statement.

“One way to do this is to look for underlying symptoms. By teaming up with Draganfly and the UniSA team led by Defense Chair of Sensor Systems Professor Javaan Chahl, we are able to remotely look at valuable lifesaving data and better manage current and future health emergencies,” he added.

Police said in a statement that the technology will not be used on private land and that the drones are not equipped with facial recognition technology.

“Using drones remains a go-to technology for reaching remote areas with little to no manpower required. Because of this technology, our officers will have the information and quality data they need to make the best decision in any given situation,” Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas said in a news release.   

Connecticut has reported 22,469 confirmed cases of the virus as of Thursday, including 221 in Westport. On Tuesday, Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced a deal with Quest Diagnostics that the governor said will allow the state to run an additional 2,000 tests per day on top of the 2,600 daily tests currently performed in the state.